These crops require some soil preparation in order to perform well, with ground that’s rich and contain plenty of organic matter. Apply well-rotted manure, compost or leaf mould to the soil in autumn. The ideal place for summer spinach would be dappled shade between rows of growing vegetables, which will reduce the risk of running into seed. Prepare your site and rake in Growmore fertiliser about 2 weeks before sowing time.
April – May.
The seedlings of summer and winter varieties should be thinned out to 3” apart as soon as they’re large enough to handle. A few weeks later, remove alternate plants for kitchen use. Hoe to keep down weeds, and water copiously during dry spells in the summer. Winter varieties will need some sort of protection from October onwards – use cloches or straw to cover the plants.
Start picking as soon as the leaves have reached a reasonable size. Always take the outer leaves, which should be young and tender – the secret is to pick continually so that fresh growth is encouraged. Take care when you’re harvesting: pick off the leaves with fingernails, but don’t wrench them off as this could cause damage to the stem.
Scotsdales star tip
Young beetroot leaves should be picked often, and are very good in salads. You can also grow Coriander and flat leaved parsley alongside your other salad leaves.